Top-ranked Dustin Johnson continued to show why he is the best golfer in the world right now.
DJ equaled the low score of the day with a 6-under-par 64 to take a five-stroke lead over third-ranked Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele after three rounds of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
One more solid round and Johnson will hoist the FedEx Cup for the first time.
“I drove the ball so much better today,” said Johnson, who struggled off the tee in a second-round 70. “It was just a little fix, but this course can make you feel like you’re really struggling even you are just a little off because the fairways are so narrow.
“I’ve been in good form the last few weeks and just need to keep it up tomorrow. I’m in control of my own destiny and if I play well, I’ll be tough to beat. I’m just going to take it one stroke at a time.”
Johnson made four birdies in the first 10 holes of round three before carding his only bogey, but then had three more birdies, including a nine-foot putt on the last hole and is at 19-under after starting the finale at 10-under because he led the FedEx Cup standings.
In his previous three tournaments, Johnson tied for second in the PGA Championship, won The Northern Trust by 11 strokes to open the playoffs and lost to Jon Rahm of Spain in the first hole of a playoff last week in the BMW Championship.
Thomas, the 2017 FedEx Cup winner, chipped in from 20 feet for an eagle on the sixth hole to highlight a 66, while Schauffele, from La Jolla and San Diego State, sank a 10-foot putt at No. 18 to cap a 67.
“The greens were not as fast the first few days as they have been in the past and I just didn’t adjust,” said Thomas, who has won three times this season on the PGA Tour. “It was nice to finally see some putts go in and I will have to make some more tomorrow.”
Said Schauffele: “I’m happy with the way I’m playing, but being five back I have to get off to a good start tomorrow and keep going and see how low I can go.”
The second-ranked Rahm bounced back from a 74 by shooting a bogey-free 66 and is six shots behind in fourth, followed one more back in fifth by fifth-ranked Collin Morikawa, the PGA champion from La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who birdied the last hole for a 67.
Daniel Berger birdied the last three holes to card a 64 and is nine down in a tie for sixth with Sungjae Im of South Korea, who stumbled to a 72, and Scottie Scheffler is 10 back in eighth after also closing his second straight 66 with three straight birdies.
Fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, the defending Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner, and Brendon Todd both shot 70 and are 11 strokes behind in a tie for ninth with Tyrrell Hatton of England, who totaled 71.
Sixth-ranked Webb Simpson is tied for 12th after a 68, ninth-ranked Patrick Reed shot 70 and is tied for 18th, eighth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis is tied for 21st after a 69, and 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel is 30th and last in the field following a 71.
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